Old programming languages don’t die quickly, but the companies that cling on using them do.
Whether you’re a startup, mobile app development agency or just an individual developer, if you’ve not investigated Swift yet, you should.
The reason is because Swift not only has the potential to develop responsive, feature-rich iOS apps for years to come, but it has also already taken over Objective-C.
A study by Upwork also revealed that Swift is one of the fastest growing skills for freelance developers, app development shops, and startups.
In fact, Swift is already being used by tech giants including Hubspot, Lyft, Asana, Pandora, and 1,120 more companies.
Thanks to several key features & benefits (which we will discuss shortly), Swift is faster, smarter, and better language than Objective-C.
The Rise of Swift App Development for iOS
For a long time, objective-C used to be the preferred language to build iOS and OSX applications. But after Apple announced Swift programming language in 2014, it brought an end to that era.
Swift is modern, safe, more sophisticated than Objective-C, and enables high-level of interactivity for developing iOS Apps.
Apple even characterized Swift as a “Objective-C without C” during WWDC 2014.
In fact, within just a couple of months of its launch, Swift’s downloads reached to over 11 Million.
Due to this initial reactions, Swift also became the most loved programming language in 2015, according to StackOverFlow 2015 developer survey.
The growth doesn’t stop here though. Swift also became fastest growing language in the history of TIOBE Index & entered top 10 list in 2017.
Even in 2018, Swift stayed in top 10 after the release of Swift 4.2 in September 2018.
But despite all this traction, many startups as well as big organizations are still in dilemma as to which would be the better choice for iOS app development.
In this article, we’ll explain what exactly Swift has to offer that has made world’s top tech giants to adopt this language.
7 Reasons Why Future of iOS App Development Favors to Swift
Despite being a “young” programming language compared to Objective-C, Swift provides everything that is needed to build cost-effective, modern iOS applications.
Following are the main reasons why you should always choose Swift for all your iOS App Development endeavors.
Reason #1 — Swift is Easier to Maintain
Do you know why Objective-C has not been able to cope up with changing demands?
In one word — Legacy.
Legacy is what’s holding Objective-C back from evolving. You see, Objective-C cannot evolve without C evolving.
And C programming language basically requires its programmers to maintain two files to build executable app, a requirement which has carried over to Objective-C as well.
Swift, on the other hand, drops this two-file requirement. The LLVM compiler and XCode can easily identify dependencies within the code to perform incremental builds automatically.
In other words, there is no need to separate the table of contents (the header file) from the body (implementation file) in Swift.
Swift directly combines header as well as implementation files into a single (.swift) file.
This means, programmers spend less time bookkeeping, as Swift eliminates boilerplate code, meaning more time available to create app logic.
Reason #2 — Swift is Safer
Safety is crucial in mobile apps, especially for app-based startups. And if that app is also easier to maintain, it’s an added privilege.
Swift offers both while Objective-C doesn’t.
In Objective-C, if you try to call a method with a nil pointer variable, it returns nothing. That entire block of code becomes non-operational, resulting into a bad code.
Though this may seem beneficial as it prevents app crashes, but it is also a main hub of bugs.
Swift, on the other hand, generates a compile time error when there is a nil pointer variable. This makes programmers to compulsory write code with intention, eliminating the possibility of bad code entirely.
Simply put, it forces programmers to fix the issue right away, making the bug identification & fixing process easier.
Reason #3 — Swift is Faster
Swift offers certain speed advantages during iOS application development.
For example, a complex object sort in Swift will run 3.9 times faster than in Python.
In fact, a report from Primate Labs also confirmed that Swift’s performance is on the par with C++, making it clear that Apple is very serious and dedicated towards improving the speed at which Swift can run the app logic.
Overall, Swift has proven to be the fastest language in its performance than Objective-C or any other language used for building iOS apps.
Reason #4 — Swift is Unified in Memory Management
In Objective-C, the Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) only supports object-oriented code & Cocoa Touch APIs, leaving procedural C code & APIs like Core Graphics behind.
Swift, on the other hand, provides complete support across procedural and object-oriented code.
This means, in Objective-C it is programmer’s responsibility to handle memory management when working with low-level APIs, procedural code, and Core Graphics APIs.
Swift, however, handles all memory management through ARC at compile time, saving time as well as brainpower which can be used for creating App logic instead.
Reason #5 — Supports Dynamic Libraries
Dynamic libraries are basically executable chunks of code which can be linked to an iOS app.
In simple terms, Dynamic Libraries are external to the iOS app, but are included inside the app bundle downloaded from the Apple App Store.
Before Swift was released, iOS never supported dynamic libraries, even though they were available for Mac.
Now with Swift, it is possible to add dynamic libraries.
Swift, in fact, also allows Swift apps to link against the latest version of the Swift language. As a result, Swift reduces the size of the app as the external code is only linked when used.
Reason #6 — Swift Has a Bright Future
Swift was made open-source by Apple in 2015, indicating that Apple is willing to get feedback from the community to make consistent improvements as individual developers contribute to make the language even more successful.
In fact, ever since Apple made Swift open-source, there has been a massive contribution from developers all around the world in fixing bugs and enhancing the Swift language itself and even add useful features.
As a result, Swift now not only has support from many developers, but it has also successfully became well-designed & well-structured.
The spurred growth of Swift that we (and the world) has witnessed is indeed encouraging and promising.
The features of Swift like cleaner & expressive syntax, ease of writing & readability, and shorter development cycles makes it perfect choice for building iOS Apps of any kind & for any device.
Simply put, Apple made Swift with the futuristic vision in mind to enhance iOS App Development process for the years to come.
In a nutshell, it has now been proved that Swift, without any doubt, is a better language than Objective-C in many ways and would be the best choice for startups as well as organizations to go with Swift for iOS App Development.